Protecting Market Integrity in an Era of Fragmentation and Cross-Border Trading

Volume 46, No 1
Janet Austin

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Stock exchanges and trading on them has changed dramatically in the last few decades as markets for securities have fragmented, trading volumes have escalated and the opportunities to trade in different markets and across international borders has increased. These changes to the markets have been driven principally by a focus on improving market efficiency, liquidity and investor choice rather than protecting the integrity (or fairness) of the markets. Yet some of these changes may have had an adverse impact on market integrity and, in particular, may have increased the ability of market participants to engage in market abuse such as insider trading and market manipulation. In response to these changes, securities regulators have endeavoured to adapt to this new trading environment, but has the reaction of regulators been satisfactory to protect the fairness of markets? This article seeks to explore this question by outlining the changes, considering how they may have impacted upon market integrity and analysing the regulatory response. Finally, this article argues that to successfully maintain and improve market integrity, considerably more needs to be done to improve the collection, exchange and analysis of information to maintain effective market oversight.

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